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Minimum crew for sail trimming


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#1 whitejamest

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 08:42 AM

Hi, I've just started playing this game and am absolutely loving it. 

 

A (probably unusual) situation occurred in a recent game where a heroic little Spanish sloop, after a few turns of exchanging shots, suffered a raking broadside that did most of its damage to the crew and rigging, while leaving the guns and hull largely intact. With such a little crew aboard, the vessel was reduced to less than the amount needed to trim sails each turn (she only had one crew factor left). However the player had rolled very well for captain and crew quality at the beginning of the scenario and rolled very well in his command check. The sloop passed, even with the modifiers for having lost such a high proportion of her crew. We marveled at the gallant crew's determination even while pitying their lot. 

 

So my uncertainty was with what happens to a ship that no longer has sufficient crew to trim sails. Does she stop sailing, drift and pivot in to the wind? Is she simply unable to make major turns, while still being able to sail in a straight line and make minor turns? 

 

Similarly, what happens when a ship is at full sail, requiring a larger minimum crew for trimming sails, but takes crew casualties reducing her to less than the complement needed to trim sails at that sail setting? Would she be forced to reduce sail to the lowest setting at once? Is she out of control until she can do so? 
 

Thanks for your help, and thanks for an awesome game. 

 

James



#2 Cpt M

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 09:36 PM

"So my uncertainty was with what happens to a ship that no longer has sufficient crew to trim sails. Does she stop sailing, drift and pivot in to the wind? Is she simply unable to make major turns, while still being able to sail in a straight line and make minor turns?"

 

First off, my complements to the gallant and courageous Spanish crew!  They should certainly receive praise in dispatches for their tenacious resistance!  

 

In this case, where the crew losses have dropped below the minimum needed to control the ship (which has been very rare in playtests: usually the crew has struck by then), the ship would become uncontrollable and begin to drift.  Basically, you don't have enough bodies to keep trim and heading, so the ship takes over and drifts to own accord.  

 

"Similarly, what happens when a ship is at full sail, requiring a larger minimum crew for trimming sails, but takes crew casualties reducing her to less than the complement needed to trim sails at that sail setting? Would she be forced to reduce sail to the lowest setting at once? Is she out of control until she can do so?"

 

Yes, she would be forced to reduce sail to account for the lost crew.  Unfortunately, she may not have the requisite number of crew to change sail.  In this case, you can "let fly" the sails necessary to bring the sail set to the next level ("let fly" is where the lines are released and the sails basically "fly" or flop around uncontrollably).  The affected sails remain uncontrolled until you can reset the sails at a later point (this represents sending crew aloft to re-rove the lines).  If "letting fly" is not an option (which would be the case in you are already in Battle Sail), then the ship becomes uncontrollable and begins to drift.  



#3 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 04:01 PM

G' Day Whitejamest,

 

A question somewhat along this bearing also came up in the "Movement Under Sail" section on the Forum.  I have re-copied my reply here as I think it helps answer your question.

 

"I think the use of the phrase "uncontrollable" may lead some gamers astray.  It is not a simple binary case of having enough Crew Factors vs. being “out of control.” This whole subject can become quite complex with many variations - as you can well imagine.  Best to think of it as a matter of time.  Without the required Crew Factors, those few that are available take more time to make changes and properly trim multiple sails so that they draw efficiently. That imposes limitations and consequences on an undermanned ship.  I think the following points provide a simple, effective and workable response to this complex question:

 

· A ship can retain control and continue to sail when undermanned provided she does not change course more than one minor Turn Arc per Tactical Phase or the wind doesn't change direction.

· She cannot tack with insufficient Crew factors for sail trim.  An attempt to do so will automatically end up "in irons."

· Changing sails, etc will take longer.  These tasks require a defined number of Crew factor efforts for the indicated Game Turns as shown on the Charts.  If a vessel doesn't have enough Crew factors, it takes the smaller number that are available more Game Turns to complete a task.  Example: a frigate requires two Crew factors for sail trim.  If only one is available, double the duration to perform these tasks.  If only one-third of the required, triple, etc.  In the intervening Game Turns, the vessel continues using the previous sail set MFs until completion of changing or trimming her sails.

· Changing course will require an equivalent doubling or tripling of the MF cost per Turn Arc.  This limits the ability to change course by limiting the Turn Arcs and simulates the inefficiency and loss of drive from not being able to promptly trim the sails.  Example: A vessel with only ½ Crew factor that needs 2 for sail trim would thus expend 4 MFs per Turn Arc, limiting her to two Turn Arcs, etc.

· A larger, emergency change of course would require "letting fly" as mentioned in Capt M's earlier reply.  This would mean the ship would slow – 3 MFs per Tactical Phase (rule Section 4.4) and require additional time (double, triple, etc.) to re-trim sails when attempting to get underway again.  That is the "out of control" case discussed in previous posts.

· An increase in wind force could result in damage (per rule Section 17.5) from excess sail; as taking in sail may not be completed in time."

 

Your obt. Servant,

 

L L GILL






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